Some of the things I made last year with my leftover stash!
Hi there, I'm Felicity and I blog over at Felicity Quilts. I'm tickled that Madame Samm agreed to let me share with you the cautionary tale of how I ended up with a stash full of fabrics I don't really like, and what I did about it.
First, some background: I started quilting in 2001. I had long admired quilts, loved to look at photos and read about antique and museum-style quilts, but didn't quilt myself. I was intimidated by what I saw and assumed I couldn't do it. My husband - bless his heart, I'm sure he rues the day - suggested I take a beginner's quilting class at my local quilt shop. I had one of those clouds-parting-sun-shining-down-angels-singing moments the very first minute of the class: "I can do this! I can make a quilt!" and I never looked back. I've made probably 100 or more quilts since then, mostly smaller lap size or baby quilts.
I started building my stash slowly, one project at a time. Then I bought a bit of fabric here and there on sale. I added to it with stuff I liked, always from the sale area at the LQS. Then in about 2003 or 2004, my husband's co-worker decided to sell her stash of books and fabric. I bought it. There was probably a good 300+ metres. Lots of florals, lots of romantic patterns. I gave away a bit right away - the non-cotton fabrics and the particularly egregious prints (preprinted holiday vests panels, etc.).
I kept the rest, and did use some. It filled out my stash bookcase nicely, that's for sure.
The Stash minus the homespuns and flannels in the Closet of Shame. FQs in the plastic bins on top. Check out all the brown and taupes, and the big stack of white/creams - so not "me" - what the heck was I thinking?
Do you see where this is going? I discovered the online world of quilting and modern quilting at the same time. And just like that, I fell out of love with my stash. "Stash, sweetie, it's not you, it's me...you see, we've grown apart. Actually, I've fallen in love with someone else I met online...." AWKWARD!
I began to feel guilty about adding to an already-large stash, and about not using the fabrics I had. It slowed me down and weighed on me.
Then I had an epiphany. If I didn't like it, I wasn't going to use it, period. Or I would use it but not really love the finished product. Then what the heck was the point in keeping it? I adopted a "clean sweep" mentality about that fabric. I needed to let the old go so that there was more space - physically and emotionally - for the new.
I've sold 100+ metres on Craig's List. Other quilters can't resist quilt shop quality fabric at $2.25-$2.50 a metre (my going rate). You may be thinking, "But you paid more than that! You're losing money!" Yes, that's true, but the money is spent, right? I price to sell. Why let guilt force you to keep something you know you're not going to use just because you paid money for it? There is value to me in seeing my fabric go to a home where it will be used and enjoyed, and to getting some space for fabric that's more "me." One woman who bought a bag full of fabric makes baby quilts on commission, so she needs lots of different styles of fabric on hand for her customers - perfect! Another customer was just getting into quilting and was on a budget. $40 and 20 metres of good quality fabric later, she's well on her way to building her own stash or making a quilt she really loved.
If you're going to sell on Craigslist, can I give you a few tips? 1. Don't type in all caps. 2. Do post a photo. 3. Expect people to treat it kind of like a garage sale, so price accordingly. Here's the photo that accompanied my last ad (which did disclose that one piece in the upper left corner had some gunk on part of it):
I ended up selling it to a "repeat customer" who had previously bought from me.
Finally, here's a shot of the stash as it currently is, pared down to just what's there (no more Closet of Shame!). I haven't completed the transformation yet, but it's a work in progress. I will tell you that I feel ever so much more liberated now that my stash is more to my liking. I'm no longer weighed down by fabric that's good quality but no longer my "style."
The Stash Now - fewer taupes, more blues, more brights especially orange.
Thanks for letting me pontificate for a little while. Now go and cull your stash and get rid of dead fabric weight! I promise you'll feel a lot lighter!